Articles

Leaders; If You Were A Radio Station, Are People Tuning Into Or Out Of Your Frequency?

July 16, 2018 - By Wendy Lambourne, Director, MA Industrial and Organisation Psychology, Registered Psychologist with SA Medical & Dental Council

By Wendy Nagel, ex Legitimate Leadership Associate.

What do you think? Are you aware of the impact and influence you are having on the people around you?

Are you occupying a leadership position OR demonstrating leadership? Depending on where you are, there will either be a high demand for your radio frequency or people will be turning you off.

The fact is, we don’t only lead at work … we lead in all aspects of our lives. I know for some this might pose a challenge, but here’s the thing: work is only one aspect of life. And yes, for some, work is everything (which may explain why you’re so frazzled and close to burnout – but that’s another issue for another time).

I am observing the energy of INTENTION more and more in my life, which notably includes work. Our intention is what is assessed in every single engagement with another human being. We are wired to determine the reason for somebody making the request/s or demand/s they make. As a result, we very quickly make a decision around the intent and whether or not it is in our best interests and so we either move towards it or away from it.

We are all hardwired for survival and motivated by four fundamental social drives: our drive to survive, affiliate, achieve and ultimately transcend (when we have overcome the fears associated with each of the first three). Based on our unique and universal life experiences and adaptive strategies that determine our personality, we will determine who we tune into and who we will avoid like the plague.

It is an absolute prerequisite for leaders to be true to their own INTENT. The question that is begging to be answered, then, is “As a human being and leader, do I really care about people?” I am referring here to the kind of care for another human being that ensures you understand what makes them tick as well as being courageous enough to call them out when they have not given of their best. Instead there is the all-too-common experience of people in leadership positions (which doesn’t make you a leader), which is generally an intention to use people in pursuit of personal goals, which in turn are aligned to company goals.

If you are in a leadership position; it is important to consider this question because you are ultimately responsible for creating an environment where people are either highly engaged because they can grow, thrive and deliver an above-and-beyond contribution willingly; or you are creating an environment where people are dis-engaged, stagnant, and doing the bare minimum required. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out which scenario is likely to deliver superior results.

Here’s the rub though: generally, the focus of most people in leadership positions is the results and not the quality of the people who are meant to deliver said results.

But what’s wrong with that?

If results get delivered through people (something that is cognitively understood, but seemingly hard to act upon), then surely the focus needs to shift to the quality and ability of the people. The distinction here is the fundamental difference between people in leadership positions and real leaders displaying leadership …

Which one are you? Occupying a leadership position OR demonstrating leadership? Depending on where you are, there will either be a high demand for your radio frequency or people will be turning you off.

Consider for a moment a leader who facilitated the very best of you to emerge. What did he allow for you? How did he show up for you? Was he there to be of service to you and your becoming the best version of yourself?

In this game of leading ourselves and then others (we can’t lead anyone else until we lead ourselves), it is vital that we reflect on our own intention in this world. Are we here with a focus to acquire as much as we can, or are we here to offer ourselves as vehicles to help others realise the greatness within them?

It is a truism that when we help others to realise the very best in themselves, we in turn realise the very best in ourselves, and so the virtuous circle continues.

Wendy Lambourne
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